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How to Budget Your Money
This sample budget records a student's monthly income and outgo.
Although large organizations need to operate according to a budget, most people do not. It is a good idea, however, to occasionally write down your budget so that you have an idea of how much you are making, how much you are spending, and most importantly, how much you are saving for the future. Students need to realize at an early age that they should spend less than they make, and that saving money for their future is very important.
This sample budget records an adult monthly income and outgo.
Short-term savings are savings used to buy items in the near future (for example, saving money for a few weeks to buy an expensive video game).
Long-term savings are savings used to buy things that will be needed in the future (for example, saving money for years to go to college).
How Much Should You Save?
How Much Can You Spend?: In order to know how much you can afford to spend and how much you should save, you need to have a big picture of your finances. A budget gives you that big picture.
For adults, many expenses are necessary (including shelter, food, water, and electricity), but some are discretionary (not necessary expenses, including entertainment, eating out, and hobbies). For students, most expenses are discretionary.
Different people save different amounts of money. The amount saved depends on many things, including emergency expenses and future monetary needs that you anticipate. Some financial advisors suggest that adults save 10% of their income; some suggest that you save more. For students, one suggested amount is allocating about one-third of income toward long-term savings (deposited in a savings account), one-third of income for short-term savings, and one-third of income for spending now.
One way to encourage savings is to show the student how savings accumulate and compound over the years. For example, if the student saves $20 each month and puts it in a savings account earning 5% annually (compounded daily), the student will have $266.12 after one year, $1386.15 after 5 years and $3140.29 after 10 years.
Printable Activities on Writing and Understanding Budgets:
Write a Four-Week Student Budget
On this printable worksheet, the student writes a budget for four weeks, recording income (from allowance, jobs, gifts) and outgo (savings, donations, wants, and needs).
Write a Monthly Renter's Budget
On this printable worksheet, write a budget for a month, including necessary and discretionary expenses.
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